Friday, July 30, 2010

Day two of things looking up!

I start writing today at the very early time of 7 am.  Now most of you will say that 7 is not early but with my time difference and the fact that I was up yesterday in order to catch my flight at the bright and early time of 3:30, it is really early.

Remember how I told you that I arrived on the plane to find I was in first class?  This was a first for me.  Things like this don't usually happen to me.  The whole fiasco of the flight, that is the stuff that usually happens to me.

I arrived in Kansas City and was fortunate enough to get a taxi shuttle that left immediately after I paid.  No waiting at all.  I arrived at the hotel and checked in.  At which point in time the very nice gentleman who checked me in handed me a brand new golden dollar (the ideal thing for the tooth fairy to give) and thanked me for being an Elite guest.  What the heck did that mean.  Well I found out soon enough.  It meant first class customer.  I get a special key that allows me the access to the concierge lounge where they serve breakfast and afternoon hors derv's(spell check sucks).  Sweet.  I am stationed in the hotel so that I look out my window and see the beautiful sites of Kansas City.

Most people would not think that this is a beautiful city but let me tell you.  IT IS CLEAN.  I walked around and there is no trash on the streets and the sidewalks are spotless.  Yes, spotless.

My coworker has not been as fortunately as I but this blog is not about her so let me continue.  When the beginning of the conference was over we decided to go find somewhere to eat.  She had gone online before coming and printed off some things to see and do, so we walked to the Power and Light district.  Only three blocks from our hotel...and the funny thing is in Massachusetts, blocks are not really blocks, here they are.  We stumbled across an out door concert.  With Luke Bryan.  SWEET!  and the best part, it was free.  We grabbed some food at this really cool little restaurant and enjoyed the concert as we ate.

The picture quality sucks because i am still trying to figure out my new phone.
The restaurant had their own beer.  And for six bucks you could sample them all.  So we did.  Not being  a big beer drinker, i can tell you that they were all pretty good.

Well, i am off to find my breakfast and a good cup of coffee and then a day at the conference.

Hope your day is as good!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I am leaving on a jet plane...actually, I already left

It’s been an absolutely crazy last few hours.

Let me start again.

Hey everybody, I write this from up above, I am currently on a plane somewhere over New York. I am on my way to the beautiful city of Kansas City, Missouri. I almost didn’t get to go. Thanks to the absolutely horrible, no good, terrible airline of US Airways.

Let me start at the beginning.

Wow, my second start.

Last night at the stroke of 9 pm, United called me to tell me that I was not going to make my connecting flight in Chicago and I was going to have a later flight. Okay, a little later, NO! 8 hours later. First they expected me to wait in an airport for 8 hours on a layover. What is up with that? Then I would arrive 2 hours late for the start of the conference that I am supposed to be working. Oh that would have gone over big at work. Then they kept me on hold for over 15 minutes to tell me to call US Airways, since they were who I originally booked with. US Airways kept me on hold for over 45 minutes coming back and forth to tell me that they could not do anything, I needed to call United. In the meantime, I called back United on my cell and said that I needed someone to take care of this. I needed to be in Kansas City before noon in order to get the booth set up and ready for the opening of the convention at 4. Finally after another 25 minutes, they booked me on a flight with Delta. Could someone please explain how this all works…no really. And can someone please explain to me why it is that I say I speak English and that I am traveling in the United States and still cannot ever speak to someone speakss English and in the United States.

Well, I arrived at the airport this morning, after the most enjoyable hour with my husband (there is no sarcasm in this, especially since he has been unbearable to live with for at least three weeks). Gave kisses and went to the Delta gate. Who immediately sent me to the United gate. It seems that when they made the arrangements the night before they never released the tickets. Back and forth between gates twice, yes, I said twice. The Delta woman finally decided it would be in her best interest to do the running. 20 minutes later it was straightened out and I had my boarding pass.

I haven’t exactly been in the best of moods the last few days. I don’t usually take on a stressful atmosphere or become over emotional. Even when I am PMSing, I am not ever that bad. I really wanted to cry. I think I was about 30 seconds away from a really bad melt down.

At this point, I NEEDED to pee! Oh , I don’t mean the I might have to go kind of pee, I mean the if I don’t go now I am going to wet my pants, kind of pee.

I am in the line to security behind the worse mother in the world, or whatever the hell she was, I don’t know, but she had three kids, I would say between 12-14 with her and she was letting them mess around and I was hit three times with one of their backpack. Picture this, I am already upset, I really have to pee, and now I have been hit. Now, imagine the blood pouring out of the side of my mouth as I bit right through my tongue. Not a pretty scene. Finally make it through, and shhhh, don’t tell anyone, with a large container of hand cream and hair mouse, well over the 3 ounce carry on allotment, and the biggest shhh of all, a lighter in my pocket book. Man, things are looking up.

And my plane is boarding. They are making the final boarding call for my flight. And the bathroom is right next to the gate. And it is so close, and yet I cannot go. Now I am at that ouch my bladder hurts so bad I think it might explode part. They are waiting for ME! Tell me again why I should have arrived two hours early instead of 1 hour and 45 mintues early…oh yeah, so when the airline effs up your entire flight you can still pee.

I get on the plane and see my seat, the first time I actually had a chance to see where I was sitting. The really nice Delta woman had asked me if I minded a seat near the emergency exit, but I didn’t bother with looking where I was.

So picture this…it is the first seat by the window. Yup FIRST CLASS! I have never flown first class before. I just finished a scrumptious breakfast of Raisin Bran, seedless grapes, delicious, yes I said delicious coffee, and I still have a banana and a blueberry muffin left over. I have tons of leg room and my neighbor is extremely pleasant.

This week really started out pretty bad, but it is starting to look up for me.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bologna Sandwiches...with rotten mayonaisse

A few years ago I had a very lengthy conversation with a good friend of mine. Her dad had just been diagnosed with liver cancer, just like my dad. She is in her 40’s as well and she was having a really difficult time with her family. Her dad’s wife had decided that this was not what she had signed up for so gave him his walking papers with his diagnosis and sent him to live with his daughters. Shortly after that, said wife started calling wanting certain pieces of furniture and wanted him to sign papers before he died. My friends sisters refused to take in their dad so my friend did. This was very difficult for her because up until this point in time her life had been all about HER.

I have a problem with attitudes like that and blew a slight leak in the bubble. I told her that she should be counting her blessings. She had no kids so she would be able to spend more time with her dad in the last few months. She looked at things just a “little” differently when I called her an open faced sandwich. She started giggling and realized that it was the truth.

I, however, am a closed sandwich. I am part of what I have heard called the sandwich generation. This is when you are squeezed in between your parents and your children. I truly believe after weekends like this last weekend that I am the bologna in the sandwich. Why could I not be something great like roast beef. I would take even ham but the bologna was a little too much to handle.

I am now going to start to bitch about my mother.

I realize that the next few paragraphs are sealing the last of the straw threads in my hand basket to hell, but I really have nowhere else to vent. If I bitch to my husband I will never hear the end of it.

Let me back up and tell you that I am NOT looking for a pat on the back for any of this but you need a little background to understand why I do what I do.

My mom is BROKE! My dad left her in such a horrible financial situation that she cannot seem to get out of it. If she takes money from the retirement plans my dad has she gets hit so hard by the federal government on taxes that she owes more than what she took when tax time comes.

She works as a substitute teacher during the school year but during the summer she has no extra income. She is 72 years old and should not be worrying about money at this time in her life. My dad refinanced the house just before he turned 60 so she has a mortgage on a house that she has lived in for 40 years.

I worked out a plan with her. If she would make sure she was available for my children during the summer, I would pay her $100 a week. This should have made the difference in what she was making before and not making now.

Then two weeks ago I was going to the grocery store and she came along with me. I bought her eggs and juice and a few other things. A week ago I took her along with me on a Saturday morning and at the check out she told the girl I was paying for her cart full of food. The grocery bill came to $325. My grocery bill is never above $250 so this was not planned.

On Saturday, my older boys were supposed to work at my brother’s house painting and then had been invited to a birthday party for 1 pm, on the other side of the city not far from my brothers. I dropped them off at 10 and then went out looking for a birthday present for a 14 year old girl, who was actually 12 but that is a whole other story (Facebook lies!) and on my way back to pick up the boys my cell phone rings.

“Where are you?!”

“In Millbury, why?”

“Well, I don’t know what the heck you are doing there but obviously you are not taking me grocery shopping. I hope you transferred the money you owe me into my bank account. There is no money in there and I have no food. This is just great. I need cash.”

After picking up my jaw off the floor of the car, I choked down some tears and said, I will try my best to get there by the end of the weekend with some cash for her. But WTF! Do I not have 6 other siblings that are in the area that she could call and bitch at? She would NEVER call my brothers and tell them she needed money but she has no problem bitching at me.

As nicely as I could I explained that the other part of my sandwich, my children, needed me to do things with them that day and I could not guarantee her a time when I could be there.

I had a very nice day with my boys, they enjoyed their little birthday party and stayed a little longer than the 5 o’clock end time the invite said, we left there a little after 6:30 and arrived home to my husband bitching that we had been gone all day. I just could not win.

I stopped by my mom’s house late on Sunday evening to an extremely pissed of woman. “I wish you had come earlier, I need my prescriptions filled. I am leaving tomorrow morning for three days with your cousin on a mini vacation. I wanted to talk to you about it but obviously you are too busy in your own little world that you forgot that I was here. I am not even going to discuss things with you right now just leave the money on the table.”

I put $160 cash on the table that she immediately picked up and counted, looked at me with this question in her eyes…where is the other $40? I looked at her and for the first time in a few years, grew a set of gonads (is that what you call them). “ I transferred $200 into your account yesterday and here is some extra cash, I am leaving on Thursday and will not be seeing you before then, enjoy your trip and this should get you through the next couple of weeks. If it is not enough call one of my brothers that don’t have three boys that they are raising and are making at least double what I am. I cannot be expected to carry this load all by myself. You have been taking my kids one day a week and making them do all of your yard work. They should be the ones getting paid. Enjoy your little vacation and don’t expect me to be around for any sort of shopping trip for at least a few weeks.”

I am leaving on a jet plane Thursday morning. I have a conference that I need to work at in Kansas City, MO. I am finally crossing the Mississippi River! It is only three days and it is work, but I am not going to have kids, a husband or a mother to deal with the whole time I am gone. Happy little mini vaca to me!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wildlife stories...

I have had two good night’s sleep. Really, two in a row. Last night Butter tried to crawl in with us once again but seriously folks, HE’S 9! I thought by this age he would have grown out of it. But he hasn’t and one of the reasons I think he wants to sleep with us while we are at the camp is because he hears noises that he is not used to.

Either way, I slept. No crashes down the hill and no forgetting stuff. You got it, I remembered my camera today.

I mentioned in the beginning of the summer posts that I love it down at camp. I also mentioned that I love the wildlife. I even mentioned that I hate some of the wildlife (mostly those funny noises that keep Butter at my bedside).

I need to tell you about the ones I hate first before going on to the pictures of the ones I love.

I HATE MICE! I can deal with bugs, I can deal with spiders, I don’t like the snakes and the fact that they sometimes come in but I REALLY HATE MICE. They are the dirtiest of all creatures. YICKY! *inserts shutter going through entire body*. This year we had them. I point out the fact that I said HAD. I also point out that I said HATE. I personally have put the kids of D-Con employees through college. I have mouse poison everywhere. I have bought 8 boxes and they are all gone. I have bought sticky paper traps and the ones that they crawl in and then you throw the whole thing away without seeing them. I have rid the inside of my camp of mice for at least one more summer. If the hubby tells me this fall that it is not necessary to spread poison, he will have another thing coming.

Peanut, the one I bitch about regularly, is my favorite son in the summer time. He collects all the dead mice and feeds them to the snapping turtles. Two problems solved. One the dead mouse, second the turtle stays away after that because he has just eaten a mouse full of poison.

Peanut and I butt heads regularly throughout the year. When I say butt heads, I really mean I pull my hair out screaming and yelling and he continues to do all the stupid hormonal teenage boy crap that he does. I tell you that it is an absolute dream when we are at camp. I truly believe that the reasoning behind this is that he is outside more often than not, he doesn’t have the crap to eat that he has when he can walk to the store to buy it, and he is limited to the family and not a lot of outside interference like cable, internet, and pissant friends.

Peanut and I spend A LOT of time on the doc with our poles. Remember the whole “my kid smells like fish” post the other day. Well it really isn’t as bad as his baby brother makes it out to be. But there is good reason that he does. I love to fish but I absolutely won’t touch them unless I absolutely have too. Peanut is my fishing buddy. He takes them off the hook for me. We actually have this little mom/son contest that we started in the beginning of the summer. I have this uncanny way of finding just the right spot to cast. One night I caught 5 large mouth (but kind of small) bass, a calico bass, 2 kivas (New England thing, not sure what you call them), and a pickerel. He caught NOTHING. His claim for loosing that night was that he was too busy taking my fish off the hooks that he didn’t have time to fish.

The other day we were trying something new. It is called whacky rigging. It works great and unless you really want to know, I won’t get into it. But I cast and got stuck on a branch. Peanut was already in the water trying to pick up some little fishes when I got stuck. He donned a mask and swam over to the tree. I thought he had seen a ghost he came up so fast. Screaming to Dad to “bring the net, bring the net…HOLY Crap Dad hurry up and bring the net” My husband came running and look what I had caught.

Last night we decided to do a little live bait fishing and my first cast into the water got me this.

I cherish the time I spend with Peanut. I wish we could live here all year round.  Please disregard the fact that we fish in our PJs.  Camp is no place for underwear.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Oh the drama...

Maybe not the time or the place to start my bitching today but I am in a little bit of quandary.

If you are invited to a party that you really do not want to attend, is it okay to say “Sorry, but we have plans for the last three weekends of July and the first two of August.” When your plans are to do NOTHING?

We have been invited to the same party every year for the last five years. Three years in a row we went. Last year, I had my husband at the ER passing a kidney stone at 4:30 am the morning of the party. By the time we brought him home, I forgot all about the party and took a nap. They called me asking me where I was. Where were my kids? How come I wasn’t there yet? And then for over two months the woman would not talk to me because I didn’t make it to her party.

The kicker is…we are not talked to when we go. I have been out with this husband and wife to NYC and cards and fun stuff like that. I have enjoyed spending time with them in the past and probably again in the future. However, when we go to this annual party, we (the whole family) are treated like the plague. Seriously, two years ago we sat for over 2 hours by ourselves. The whole family. A woman even got up and removed her child from the pool when my 7 year old jumped in. People scurried away from the food table when we went to fill our plates.

I have NEVER EVER EVER felt like that ANYWHERE!
So this year when I received the invitation, I declined. I have received three emails from this woman within the last few days asking if my plans had changed and if I was going to be able to make it.

Well, my plans have changed. I received an invitation to a 14 year olds birthday party. And I am going there because I know I will have more fun than at the other place. I did not have plans until yesterday afternoon. And now I have plans.

Am I wrong?

Monday, July 19, 2010

No pictures...I am just too tired.

I know, I know, I said I was not going to be doing long drawn out wordy posts during the summer and I was going to be posting more pictures that words, but in order to do that you need to have a brain that functions.

I have been so forgetful lately and I think it is because my brain is on overload. That and the lack of sleep this past weekend have been really working its toll.

I have three boys who normally sleep within a few feet of each other during the school year that are literally sleeping on top of each other in the summer time. My oldest, Jelly is suffering from allergies and the new appliances in his mouth that are changing the way he breathes. He snores NOW. He has never snored before. For the last two weeks he has been snoring like an arriving train. Ugh! But it isn’t even him that is making me stay awake.

Peanut doesn’t like the bottom bunk any more. It is too hot on these hot days to sleep in the tiny room with no fan. It smells after a few days and even though his mom is telling him that wiping your hands on your shorts after taking the fish off the hook makes your pants smell and the rest of the dirty laundry too, he continues to do it. So he has taken up sleeping on the floor in the living room less than 2 feet away from Jelly. Who now snores.

Butter, well he is a different story. Peanut smells, did I mention that? Peanut smells and so does his dirty clothes. Peanut smells like fish and his dirty clothes smell like someone who has been wiping his fishy hands on them too. Peanut needs to learn how to use soap. Peanut has not taken the soap to wash his hands or body in a couple of days. Peanut stinks. UGH! This is what I listen to for at least a half hour every night as Butter is being told to GO TO BED! But Peanut smells. So Butter has left the little room himself and has pulled the extra mattress out and is sleeping on the floor, next to Peanut, who smells, who is less than 2 feet away from Jelly, who snores now.

Yup, the joys of camp life. But that is not the only reason I am not sleeping. It also has to do with this drug that I take up every summer. I don’t know why I cannot break the habit. I cannot understand the NEED I have every time I move to the camp for the summer. It is an addiction. Yup, an addiction, to the written word. Freaking BOOKS! I cannot put them down. I cannot seem to get enough of that freaking written word. I have read 4 books in the last three weeks. I have just started my fourth. But the last one was riveting but totally intense. More intense than anything I have ever read before in my life. It was so disturbing, yet I could not put it down. What an amazing book. It was The Kite Runner. I would read until my eyes would not stay open and then have nightmares about the freaking book for half the night.

It has been rough this past week. The temperature and the humidity have made it hard to sleep. The kids have made it hard to sleep and I know that it is taking its toll on my both physically and mentally.

Just to prove a point. I almost drove my car into the pond yesterday afternoon. I meant to just move it up a few feet to let another car pull in behind me in the driveway. The next thing I knew I crested the hill was on my way down and since the front tires were not touching anything the brakes did not engage. I started sliding, and then like an elderly driver started panicking. Luckily, I stopped within a few feet of the stone wall and was stopped by a root. I sat there shaking for a good three minutes before the intensity of the situation wore off. Then I backed up into my spot, blessed myself and moved my friend’s car up a few feet. Now picture this…I am sitting in my friend’s car, I moved it up a few feet, I come to a stop and turn off the car. I can’t get the effing key out of the ignition. It won’t move. It won’t come out. I think to myself, WTF and decide this is definitely a job for my husband to handle, I just can’t take anymore. I go to step out of the car and it moves. Then I realized, I NEVER PUT THE CAR INTO PARK…HENCE THE REASON THE KEY WONT COME OUT. I put the car in park, stepped out of the car and I proceeded to go into the house and pour myself a BIG ASS Alcoholic beverage…because seriously, if I am going to start acting like I am drunk, I might as well be.

I did not get behind the wheel of a car for the rest of the day.

I didn’t read last night; I was in bed by 9 and out cold within 15 minutes. At 11:20 pm Butter came in and traced his fingers up my arm in an attempt to wake me up. When I opened my eyes he was less than 6 inches from my face. I screamed, handled the fact that he could not sleep because Peanut smells and Jelly is snoring. I gave him an extra pillow and then could not get back to sleep until almost 2. Remember the wildlife I mentioned before…a few posts back. How some of it I like and some of it I don’t. It makes a shit load of noises at 1 o’clock in the morning.

I overslept this morning…BIG SURPRISE. Oh yeah, and I forgot to bring my camera to work to download some pictures. Eventually, I will sleep.

Friday, July 9, 2010

A little color in the garden of Oz

So here we are week number 3 in the life at the pond. It has been a hot couple of days the last few days but when it is hot and you live on the water, it is almost bearable. The day school got out we moved down and I spent a few days with the boys just us.

We made trips to the house to get the things we had forgotten and I took the boys strawberry picking. My Butter loves strawberries so much that he develops a rash around his mouth from overeating them. We were having so much fun that I didn’t even realize how much we had picked. When we got to the weigh station it was 15 pounds of strawberries. Yes, 15 pounds. Since then we have been eating strawberry pancakes, strawberry shortcake and there is nothing like a few frozen strawberries in a cold ice tea to make all the difference.

The one thing that I love about the pond is the wildlife. One thing I hate about the pond is the wildlife. All the different types of birds that we have this year are amazing. So far I have seen a palm warbler, a Baltimore oriole, hummingbirds, robins, doves, blue birds like crazy, blue jays, kingfishers (these are really neat), ducks, geese (which are on the hate list), and Great Blue Herons. It is not surprising to sit on the deck and be buzzed by a bird looking to go for the flowers.

The flowers are the best. We have little gardens set up all over the place because there are so many rocks there is no room for a yard. Here is a sample of some of the little gardens we have.

This is a rusty barrell that sits deep in the ground.  My husband's grandparents set this in there years ago before he was even born.  As you can see, we planted some yellow lillies in it a few years back and since then they have been multiplying over and over again.  The garden just in front is something that I started the first few years that we lived there and since then the hubby has taken over and planted some very interesting things.  Things that I never would have thought of, but hens and chickens are spread throughout and this year they even look like they are going to flower.  I have never seen hens and chickens flower before.

This little garden has a few different things in it.  Begonias and Clemetis to name just two.  This is a spot that was just all rocks before and the hubby dug and dug and pulled the rocks surrounding it out so that he could plant some flowers.  The span pic shows you where the lattice work is and where you can imagine this little garden.

This is not a garden obviously but it does hold my mother's day gift.  I have a black thumb normally but this plant is doing very well.

All sorts of rocks.  Can you see why this little corner of the world is called Rocky Pond.  We have planted about 12 different types of lilies and hosta.  Just as these colors start to fade the cone flowers start blooming.

All of this together gets a pic like this if you are sitting in the water.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Welcome to the land of OZ!

It has been a crazy couple of weeks for me and the days just keep moving. June is the month that I started doing my job to the full capacity and so this past June was very busy. Between the end of the school year and the renewal process for the groups that I worked with last year and the new groups that I am working with this year, June was very short on spare time.

Now it is July and the days are getting a little less hectic. I think that I have found a little grove in my day that I can work with.

On the last day of school every year, I move. We move exactly 6.2 miles away but it seems like 602 on most days. I go from looking out my window and seeing this…

To looking out my window and seeing this…

It is truly a little bubble that I move to.

We have no internet there. We have no cable there. We have a phone that never ever rings…doesn’t mean that you can’t call, just means that most people don’t. The phone is forwarded from my house but most people don’t bother to call my house phone anyway. I need to have it for emergency purposes so that the boys can call 9-1-1 if they need to. We have a TV with rabbit ears and one of those new digital converters, so we get like 16 channels. Impressive huh?

We have no running hot water! This is where most people shutter. We boil the water on the stove in order to do the dishes or shave. Other than that, it is a bar of soap and a bottle of shampoo and into the pond you go for your bath. I wake every morning to the sound of birds. I go to sleep every night to the sound of bullfrogs.

So going forward for the summer, I will post less words and more pictures…because who can’t stand to live without a scene like this. (picture taken from the canoe).